I’m a diehard Phish and Red Sox fan, my husband loves Ben Folds and the UNC Tarheels. Some of our best nights out together have been sharing these obsessions with each other, shouting for our team or singing along with songs we’ve loved for years.
But we have two kids now, and those awesome, endless nights out together are fewer and far between. Still, having a family doesn’t mean that busy parents have to bid farewell to date nights forever.
Here are some tips to ditch the kids (responsibly, of course) and do date night right:
1. Make Sure Your Sitter Is A Sure Thing
Step #1 of a successful date night: Book your most reliable, trustworthy, solid kid-watcher, so that you can fully chill while out on the town. There’s no point in attempting a fun night out if you’re going to be anxiously checking text messages all night, worried about your kids.
You wanna make sure the babysitter you hire is someone you can count on to be great with your kids — and to not cancel on you at the last minute.
2. Pick Something You’ll Both Enjoy
Nothing starts a Date Night off on the wrong foot like picking an event only one of you will truly enjoy.
Now sure, you should both take turns dragging each other to see your respective favorite bands, even if the other secretly can’t stand them. This is an essential part of Being A Good Spouse. But for Date Night to really kick some butt, you should both 100% be on board.
This requires some advance planning — check out who’s coming to town, when tickets go on sale, and then make a big X on your calendar so you both know the day is reserved.
And may I personally recommend the intuitive, easy, and fast Ticketmaster app? Busy parents can’t always be in front of their computers the second tickets go on sale, and the app makes it incredibly easy to discover live events and purchase tickets in a matter of seconds. Take it from me, the woman who used the app to snag Beyonce tickets while waiting in line at the grocery store.
3. Give Yourself Time
The most important part of Date Night is that you can relax and enjoy yourself. There’s no worse feeling in the world than rushing to a show.
When the day comes, make sure you leave a little — or a lot! — early, so that you can find your seats, grab that beer or t-shirt, hit the bathroom, and then take a deep breath before the lights go down. Trust me — it will make everything WAY more enjoyable.
4. Don’t Pass Up The Perks
A Date Night for parents is like Haley’s Comet — it, uh, doesn’t happen that often. If you have room to splurge and live it up a little, why not indulge and really make it a night to remember?
The VIP Experience for The Weeknd’s tour includes premium seats, parking, a reception with adult beverages and food, and an exclusive gift. The VIP perks will make an already special night sparkle even more.
5. Buy The Shirt
You know you want it, so why not just buy the tour shirt, or whatever other merch is calling your name? Better yet: buy two, and be one of those couples who rocks matching outfits. What’s cuter than that?
And if the thought of waiting in a crowd to buy a hat makes your skin crawl, check out those VIP extras — The Weeknd’s includes a “crowd-free merchandise shopping opportunity.” (If only the grocery store could promise the same thing. Sigh.)
6. Make A Whole Night Of It…
As any parent knows, just the cost of a sitter makes a night out a somewhat costly adventure. If you’re going to invest in the childcare, why not extend the night so you can really enjoy yourself and make the most of your time?
Go out for dinner before hand, get a drink, or grab some to-go food at the supermarket and picnic it up before you go into your show.
End the evening with a night cap out at your old favorite haunt. You don’t get a ton of chances to go out on the town, so go for it.
7. …Or Day Of It
Hey, sometimes staying up late is the least enjoyable thing for a mom or dad. There are so many great festivals – especially in the summer – where you can enjoy music all day long and still be home in time to tuck your kids into bed.
The Classic East and West concert festival is hitting both coasts with iconic bands like Fleetwood Mac, The Eagles, and Journey. And the best part (besides Stevie Nicks’ scarves) is that it starts at 3:30PM!
You could also try a daytime baseball game, with fancy tailgating (brunch and mimosas, anyone?) beforehand. Date Day totally counts as a Date Night!
8. Plug It Up
Much todo is made about protecting our little ones’ ears when they hit up concerts, but it’s just as important to keep your own ears safe. Sure, its not “cool” to pop in ear plugs before a show, but what parent is cool anymore? Keep your body safe, and still have a good time.
9. Hitch A Ride
If you don’t want to pay for parking, or want to indulge in a cocktail or two, leave your car at home and hitch a cab ride or plan on taking public transportation for the night.
You won’t have to spend an hour wandering the parking lot trying to find your car, and you’ll get home safe and sound at the end of the night. What’s better than that?
10. Go Big (Then Go Home)
As parents, Date Nights are often hard to come by. So don’t hesitate to, ya know, go big. Enjoy yourselves. Dance harder than everyone else, wear your tallest heels, scream until your voice gives out, and stay out until you can’t keep your eyes open.
Just be sure to have a big cup of coffee waiting for you in the morning when you wake up.
Kate, the Minimaster Mom, lives and works in Southern California with her husband and daughters, ages 6 and 4. They never yell, watch TV, or eat sugar.